Runners shake attitudes at annual Horsethief Run
Eudora cross country coach Paul Boone was pleased when 120 racers showed up for last year's Horsethief Run. This year's turnout gave him even more reason to smile.
A total of 160 entrants spent Saturday morning enjoying perfect weather for a run on the cross country course north of Eudora Middle School.
"We were shooting for 150 runners, so we met our goal," Boone said. "I'm glad a lot of families came out. It's a great opportunity to have fun and be fit."
The opportunity to get some quality exercise was not the only attraction at Saturday's event. Participants won prizes like hats and running apparel in a drawing while the band "Two Much Fun" provided energetic live music. C&S Market and Great Harvest Bread Company supplied participants with post-race food and refreshments.
The Eudora cross country program could be the biggest beneficiary of the large turnout. The $20 per-racer entry fee helps the team pay for travel and other expenses. Boone said the revenue will help pay for the team's new tent, which he said would lend legitimacy to the program at future meets.
"Having a good number of people here really helps," former Eudora runner Brittney Graff said. "It's great for the team to train and compete in other places. This helps pay for the gas."
Though fundraising is an important part of the Horsethief Run, the Eudora athletes came away from the race with more than gas money.
"A relaxed event like this helps kids understand the sport is about getting better," Boone said. "Running in a laid-back environment helps address the uptight attitude that develops."
Though Saturday's race did not officially help the team toward next season's state title, several Eudora runners enjoyed strong performances in the 5K run.
Juan Ramirez and Ivan Espinosa placed second and third in the age 13 to 15 male group with times of 19:03 and 19:26, respectively. Former Cardinal Graff finished the course in 21:03, good for first place overall in the overall female standings.
In Boone's estimation, every participant left a winner. He said the Horsethief Run was a success because it afforded people the opportunity to discover that fitness can be fun.